An American Official Finally Asks, “Where Did ISIS Buy All of Those Toyota Trucks?”

[SEE: The Toyota Land Cruiser and its Role in Spreading Terror among African Civilians: Field ObservationsA dubious distinction: Hilux utes stolen from Sydney ‘are the preferred armoured vehicles’ for ISIS fighters in the Middle East]

US official enquires Why ISIS owns so many Toyota vehicles

the weekly observer

Toyota, the world’s second largest vehicle maker, have been asked by the US counterterror officials to help them to know how so many  Toyota pick-ups are seen prominently in the ISIS’s propaganda videos in Syria, Libya and Iraqi, ABC News has learned.

Toyota in response said that it does not know how the terror group managed to have their vehicle. The company also said that it will support every effort by the US Terror Financing unit of the Treasury Department.

“We informed Treasury on our vehicle supply chains in the Middle East and the process that Toyota has in place to keep supply chain integrity,” said Lewis, Toyota’s Washington-based manager of public policy and communications.

“Toyota has very strict policy not to sell autos to potential purchaser who intends to modify them or use them for terrorist activities”, said Lewis. He added that it is hard for the Toyota company to track cars that have been bought and resold or have been stolen.

Toyota Hilux pickups and Toyota Land Cruisers have been common in ISIS campaign videos in Libya, Syria and Iraq. These vehicles are always seen with many terrorist and loaded with heavy weapons. Luke Faily, The Iraqi Ambassador to the US, said that he believes that ISIS has managed to acquire many “brand new” Toyota vehicles in the recent years.

Questions about the Toyota vehicles by ISIS have circulated for many years. In 2014, Public Radio International reported that the US. State Department gave 43 Toyota vehicles to Syrian rebels. In another report, Australia newspaper said that more than 800 trucks were missing in Sidney in 2014 and 2015, and added that terror experts speculated that the cars were sold to ISIS.

Any efforts to trace how the Toyota vehicles end up in the hands of ISIS have proven difficult to Iraq and US officials.

The US official told ABC News that time is not ripe for them to comment publically about their engagement with certain private firm. But in answer to questions about Toyota Company, they said that investigations are underway.

Russia Bombing for Stability In Syria—US Bombing for Chaos

If They Are Bombed – They Are Daesh

unz rreview

President Putin is a pirate, no less. In his declaration at the UN, he stole President Bush Jr’s copyrighted 2001 call to fight Terror. That’s why the Americans were taken aback: the Russian President played back at them the best tropes of their own presidents. This was a clever subterfuge: instead of pointing out the disagreement between the Russians and the US, Putin took the whole American discourse and appropriated it. People conditioned to this talk swallowed it, hook, line, and and sinker, and even liked it: readers of the popular NY Daily News preferred Putin’s speech to that of their own president 95% to 5 %. So did Donald Trump. Putin probably would take the Republican nomination if he were to run for it, so Trump wants to take these Putin votes.

And now, the Russians began their war on Terror. George W Bush’s War on Terror was a sham; would the Russian one be any better? The Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, by Arabic acronym), the declared object of the campaign, is an elusive entity, like al Qaeda, – or like the Snark of Lewis Carroll’s poem. It is a franchise, a network, rather than a state. It can’t be undone by airstrikes anymore than al Qaeda was.

Putin said that the US unleashed thousands of airstrikes at Daesh, and nobody knows where those bombs landed and whether they had any impact. The West says the same about the Russian strikes. The British Minister of Defence promptly estimated that 5% of the Russian bombs hit Daesh, while the rest landed on other fighting units a.k.a. “the moderate opposition”. Though this number of 5% could only be achieved by divination or by reading tea leaves, it is plausible that the Russians will use the war on Daesh for their own purpose. What is the Russian plan?

They do not want to present Assad with an unlimited victory. The Russians want to sort out the Syrian mess created by the Assad-must-go mantra, and force the sane opposition to negotiate with the Syrian government, eventually restoring the Syrian state. Forcing someone to negotiate is Russian know-how; they applied it recently in the Ukraine. The Kiev regime was unwilling to negotiate and settle with the Donbass, hoping to win the war. Then crack Russian troops entered Eastern Ukraine to the south of Donbass and moved for the sea port of Mariupol. Their speed, mettle and success were so overwhelming that they could have taken Mariupol and proceeded unhindered to Kherson and Odessa. The Kiev regime sued for peace, the Russians accepted the plea, their troops went home to the barracks, Mariupol remained under Kiev rule, and the Minsk agreements were signed.

Probably the Russians will use the same routine, first in Western Syria, the most populated part of the country. The opposition will have a choice of (a) negotiating and entering a coalition with the government, (b) being bombed to smithereens as Daesh, or (c) escaping to the deserts of Eastern Syria, Turkey or Iraq. The US, French, British and the Turks say that Russians are bombing the moderate opposition rather than Daesh. From Russian point of view, those who refuse to negotiate are Daesh by definition, and so they deserve to be bombed. In short, if they are bombed they are Daesh.

Daesh has strong propaganda value: they make videos of chopped heads and blown up antiques and drive around in dashing new jeeps. They are called the Ultimate Evil by President Obama, President Putin and the Pope. Such an Ultimate Evil has its useful application as it justifies military action. For Obama, Daesh provides a licence to bomb Syria forever. For Putin, Daesh provides a chance to pressure the opposition for compromise.

Does Daesh exist in a normal way, or is an apparition of smoke and mirrors? We do remember that the dreadful al-Qaeda of 9/11 fame turned out to be an almost virtual entity, and eventually became an ally of the US under its new name of Jabhat al Nusra. This is a moot point.

Just consider that the neighbours—Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates—do not fight Daesh.

Daesh says it wants to free Palestine, but they have never, ever harmed an Israeli. The Israelis would fight them if they considered them being dangerous to Israel. Israeli officials have said privately to the Russians: “Daesh are bad guys, but of little importance. Why are you obsessed with them?”

Daesh says they will liberate Mecca and send the the Saudis back to desert, but they never did anything against the Saudis. As the Russian bombs fell, the Saudis were the first to cry “Stop it!”

The Turks said they will fight Daesh, but instead, they bombed the Kurds. Thierry Meyssan, the French journalist based in Damascus, considers Daesh a Turkish creature and says Daesh sells oil to the Turks. The Turks denied that. Turkish officials told me that Daesh sells its illegal oil to Bashar al-Assad and that Bashar does not fight Daesh. Bashar’s people say they do not fight Daesh because they were told to keep away by the US. Back to square one.

This line was confirmed by Russian officials. They said that in September 2014 they were approached by the Americans who warned them that they would begin bombing Daesh-held areas. They asked the Russians to pass a message to the Syrian government saying that the bombing campaign was not aimed against Damascus, and they should sit tight and would not be hurt. The US did not want to speak directly to Bashar al-Assad.

The Russians refused to pass the message. If you have a message for the Syrian government, try Western Union, they said, or do it yourself. And the Americans did it. They told Bashar directly that they will bomb Daesh positions and he should stay out and keep his cool.

It appears that at the face-to-face Putin-Obama meeting at the UN HQ, this argument was aired again. President Obama said that Assad does not fight against Daesh and President Putin retorted that this was the US demand: stay out and do not meddle. Assad waited for a whole year, and so did we, said Putin, and meanwhile the territory under Assad’s control shrunk down to 30% or even less.

Obama demanded more transparency regarding Russian plans and intentions. Putin retorted he also could use more transparency regarding American plans. What do you want to achieve in Syria, asked Obama. Putin asked the same question, and got no answer. Obama said Russian involvement in the war with Daesh would fortify Assad. Putin asked: whom will your involvement fortify? We do not want to liberate territories for Assad, said Obama. For whom, pray tell me, do you do to liberate the territories?, asked Putin, and received no answer. Who will rule the territories after your victory? Again there was no clear answer.

This is the difference between the Russian and American approach: the Russians want to save the Syrian state, while the Americans want to rejoice in the fall of the tyrant. Russians stress that they are not committed to Assad’s rule. They “aren’t married to Assad”, as they say. To Obama’s Assad must go, Putin did not reply with Assad must stay. This is not your business, he said, and it is not Saudis’ business neither. This is an internal Syrian affair. We do not want to remove or appoint presidents in other countries, said Putin.

Indeed, Putin could have removed the Georgian president in August 2008, he could have saved the Ukrainian president Yanukovych in February 2014; he could have changed or replaced presidents in other neighbouring states like the US removed Noriega of Panama, but, for good or for ill, he did not do it. Regime change is as American as apple pie; Putin does not go for it. Many Russians think this adherence to international law is Putin’s fault; perhaps, nobody is perfect.

Putin reminded Obama that at G8 summit in Northern Ireland it was decided to arrange a meeting of all the Syrian parties against terrorism. However, the US proposed to form a united Syrian coalition government and only afterwards to proceed to fight terrorism. The Russians proposed to do this by parallel tracks, forming a coalition and fighting terrorism, but they could not prevail. Russians are committed to the Geneva-1 agreement calling for the negotiations of all Syrian parties of the conflict. The US are co-signatories of Geneva-1, but they refused to act.

Russians made a huge effort to get the opposition together for negotiations, but in vain. The opposition is fragmented into thirty or more groups, and they can’t even sit together, let alone sit with the Syrian government. When the Russians proposed a conference, the opposition refused. They said: the government has a position, but we have thirty differing positions, how can we negotiate? The Russians asked the powers to produce at least a short list of moderate opposition groups. Only Turkey came up with a list, but this list was totally unacceptable to Egypt, as it contained mainly Muslim Brotherhood splinters. Other powers did not even propose a short list.

A month or so ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the last attempt to convince the opposition saying “if you do not work together, Syria will cease to exist. There will be no Assad, and no Syria. Damascus will fall to Daesh”. It did not have an impact either.

Russia made a great effort to build consensus around its actions in Syria. It appears that the recent British killing-by-drone of two British subjects in Syria has influenced the Russian mind. The Brits justified this killing in a foreign land, in breach of international law, by Article 51 of the UN Charter (self-defence). Sergey Lavrov was overheard fuming: if having two Brits among Daesh volunteers justifies a British airstrike on the grounds of self-defence, aren’t the Russians entitled to similar recourse as there are three thousand Russian volunteers with Daesh? It seems that this comparison has been made by President Putin. He was also sick and tired of being lectured and restrained while everybody else enjoyed a marvelous freedom of action.

A Daesh victory was unacceptable for the Russians as the traditional custodians of Syrian Christians, for Daesh is very bad for Christians. Some were slaughtered and some had to flee. From this point of view, al Qaeda, al Nusra and similar extreme groups are not better. Russia is committed to preservation of a Syrian state tolerant to religious and ethnic minorities (not necessarily a laic state), but certainly Russia would never allow the majority Sunnis to be discriminated against, either.

Russia is home to some twenty million Sunni Muslims (and very few Shia) who are fully integrated and occupy all walks of life and important positions in the Russian state. One of the more fervent and outspoken Russian Muslims is Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of warlike Chechnya. He expressed his support for the Russian airstrikes and offered to lead his fighters into battle in the Syrian hills in order to save the Syrians from the wrath of Takfiris (=those who call other Muslims “Kaffir”, “infidel” – a name for Daesh and other Muslim extremists). So for the Russians, this is not a Crusade of Christians against Muslims, but a war of Christians and Muslims against Takfiri sects.

Russians are also worried by possible influx of takfiris and jihadis into Russia proper. The US would not mind such a development, as it would keep Russia occupied at home.

The Russians would like to build a grand coalition for saving Syria, a coalition that includes the Western states as well as Muslim states. That’s why President Putin reminded everyone of the grand coalition against Hitler’s Germany. However, there is no chance for such a consensus. The US wants Syria to be utterly destroyed, and certainly it wants the Russians to fail in their endeavour.

That’s why the Russian planes were still on the ground warming their engines while the social networks already went abuzz showing photos of Syrian children killed by Russian bombs. We may expect more of the same in the next few days. If Russians will be successful, their adversaries are likely to set up an atrocity: the downing of a civilian airliner, the bombing of a school,and suchlike. We should be ready for such a development.

Israel Shamir reports from Moscow. He can be reached at

This article was published first at the Unz Review.

Pentagon’s Perpetual Inability To Train Foreign Proxy Armies

Billions From U.S. Fail to Sustain Foreign Forces 

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Members of the Iraqi military trained in Baghdad in July, during a visit by Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter. Credit Pool photo by Carolyn Kaster

WASHINGTON — With alarming frequency in recent years, thousands of American-trained security forces in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia have collapsed, stalled or defected, calling into question the effectiveness of the tens of billions of dollars spent by the United States on foreign military training programs, as well as a central tenet of the Obama administration’s approach to combating insurgencies.

The setbacks have been most pronounced in three countries that present the administration with some of its biggest challenges. The Pentagon-trained army and police in Iraq’s Anbar Province, the heartland of the Islamic State militant group, have barely engaged its forces, while several thousand American-backed government forces and militiamen in Afghanistan’s Kunduz Province were forced to retreat last week when attacked by several hundred Taliban fighters. And in Syria, a $500 million Defense Department program to train local rebels to fight the Islamic State has produced only a handful of soldiers.

A United States Army trainer instructed Iraqi recruits in Taji in April. Many Iraqi soldiers have joined the exodus of migrants to Europe. Credit John Moore/Getty Images

American-trained forces face different problems in each place, some of which are out of the United States’ control. But what many of them have in common, American military and counterterrorism officials say, is poor leadership, a lack of will and the need to function in the face of intractable political problems with little support. Without their American advisers, many local forces have repeatedly shown an inability to fight.

“Our track record at building security forces over the past 15 years is miserable,” said Karl W. Eikenberry, a former military commander and United States ambassador in Afghanistan.

The American military has trained soldiers in scores of countries for decades. But after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that mission jumped in ambition and scale, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the ultimate goal was to replace the large American armies deployed there.

The push to rebuild the Iraqi Army that the United States disbanded after the 2003 invasion had largely succeeded by the time American troops withdrew eight years later. But that $25 billion effort quickly crumbled after the Americans left, when the politicization of the army leadership under Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki eroded the military’s effectiveness at all levels, American officials said.

In Afghanistan, basic training typically included marksmanship, ambush drills and other counterterrorism skills. Before they could begin that, most new Afghan recruits also needed time-consuming literacy training so they could read the serial numbers on their weapons, or lessons on proper hygiene to prevent illnesses that would reduce their effectiveness in combat. Still, there were notable successes: Afghan special forces trained and advised by their American counterparts proved to be especially capable fighters.

Then, in a commencement speech at West Point in May 2014, President Obama put the training of foreign troops at the center of his strategy for combating militant groups that threaten American interests. The United States, he said, will no longer send large armies to fight those wars and, in the case of Afghanistan, would continue to withdraw the forces that are there. Instead, it will send small numbers of military trainers and advisers to help local forces, providing them with logistical, intelligence and other support.

“We have to develop a strategy,” Mr. Obama said, “that expands our reach without sending forces that stretch our military too thin or stir up local resentments. We need partners to fight terrorists alongside us.”

Expensive Failures

Mr. Obama’s approach has already endured several setbacks, but with no political appetite among most Republicans or Democrats to send in large numbers of American troops, the administration is adjusting its strategy, often turning to regional allies for help in supporting local forces.

In northwest Africa, the United States has spent more than $600 million to combat Islamist militancy, with training programs stretching from Morocco to Chad. American officials once heralded Mali’s military as an exemplary partner. But in 2012, battle-hardened Islamist fighters returned from combat in Libya to rout the military, including units trained by United States Special Forces. That defeat, followed by a coup led by an American-trained officer, Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, astounded and embarrassed American commanders. French, United Nations and European Union forces now carry out training and security missions in Mali.

In Yemen, American-trained troops and counterterrorism forces largely disbanded when Houthi rebels overran the capital last year and forced the government into exile. The United States is now relying largely on a Saudi-led air campaign that has caused more than 1,000 civilian casualties.

More recently in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, the military campaigns against the Taliban and the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, have made little headway. After acknowledging that only four or five American-trained Syrian rebels were actually in the fight there, Pentagon officials said last week that they were suspending the movement of new recruits from Syria to Turkey and Jordan for training. The program suffered from a shortage of recruits willing to fight the Islamic State instead of the army of President Bashar al-Assad, a problem Mr. Obama noted at a news conference on Friday.

“I’m the first one to acknowledge it has not worked the way it was supposed to,” he said. “A part of the reason, frankly, is because when we tried to get them to just focus on ISIL, the response we get back is, ‘How can we focus on ISIL when, every single day, we’re having barrel bombs and attacks from the regime?’ ”

In Afghanistan, the United States has spent about $65 billion to build the army and police forces. Even before last week’s setback in Kunduz, many Afghan forces were struggling to defeat the Taliban, partly because of what many senior commanders said had been a precipitous American drawdown before Afghans were ready to be on their own. But how thousands of Afghan Army, police and militia defenders could fare so poorly against a Taliban force that most local and military officials put only in the hundreds baffled and frustrated the Pentagon.

If there is a bright spot in the training landscape, it may be the American-financed effort by a 22,000-member African Union force — from nations like Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia — to oust the Shabab, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, from many areas of the country. The Shabab’s leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed last year in an American airstrike, and other agents have been killed by drone strikes.

The American government has invested nearly $1 billion in the overall strategy in Somalia. But even with the gains, the Shabab have been able to carry out bombings in Mogadishu, the capital, and in neighboring countries, including massacres at a university and a shopping mall in Kenya in the past two years.

Shiites Step Back

Much more complicated is the situation in Iraq. A United States training program to strengthen the embattled security forces there has run aground, in part because the Iraqi government has provided far fewer recruits than anticipated, while many Shiite militiamen and soldiers who were fighting the Islamic State have left the battlefield and joined the exodus of migrants seeking new lives in Europe.

The reality is that Iraq’s Shiite majority seems to be settling in to a divided Iraq and increasingly questioning whether it is worth shedding Shiite blood in areas like Anbar Province or Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which the Islamic State captured in June 2014. The battle against the Islamic State is no longer the national priority it was a year ago, when the militants threatened Baghdad and the Shiite-majority south.

With those areas now largely secure, mostly because of the efforts of Iranian military advisers and their proxy militias, the Iraqi government is focused on other priorities — mostly the migrant crisis and street protests, which led to a series of proposals by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

For the White House, which hoped to rely on a rehabilitated Iraqi Army and Shiite militias to fight the Islamic State, this raises troubling questions and highlights the diverging interests of the United States and its partner.

Vali Nasr, dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and a former senior adviser at the State Department, said there was a deepening sense in Iraq that “ISIS is a Sunni problem, not a Shia problem.” He said the prevailing belief now among Shiites was that saving Anbar was not worth “the blood of our children.”

Maps have even circulated that show the territory the Shiite militias and their sponsors in Iran care about. A line stretches from the Iranian border in the east to just south of Kirkuk; around Samarra and to the edge of Baghdad; and then across Anbar, south of Falluja, toward the Jordanian border.

Sajad Jiyad, an Iraqi analyst based in London and Baghdad who has advised the Iraqi Defense Ministry, saw one of the maps and described it as “the lines they are not willing to concede.”

This is a significant shift. Last summer, during the Islamic State’s onslaught into Iraq, tens of thousands of Shiite men took up arms after Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader for Iraqi Shiites, issued a fatwa. As recently as four months ago, after Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, fell to the Islamic State, militiamen streamed into the province, promising to quickly drive the

But in Anbar, the situation was so dire that local Sunni officials invited the militias in, and the Americans largely acquiesced as long as the groups coordinated with the Iraqi government so that American warplanes would not mistakenly bomb them. Now, more than four months after the fall of Ramadi, despite American and Iraqi officials’ promises of a robust counteroffensive, the fight has come to a stalemate.

And many of the Sunnis who sought help from the militias now regret it. Several officials said that instead of helping liberate Anbar from the Islamic State, the Shiite militias had settled into relatively safe areas of the province, raising fears that their goal — and that of their sponsor, Iran — is to set up a permanent presence there as part of a plan to protect Baghdad and the south.

Sheikh Rafi al-Fahdawi, a Sunni tribal leader in Anbar, said the militia fighters had “isolated themselves in certain areas and don’t want to participate in the important battles.”

The United States and 16 allied countries have so far trained six Iraqi Army brigades and 10 Kurdish pesh merga battalions, or about 12,000 troops, according to the Defense Department. About half of the army troops are now in the fight, with the others training on their equipment and soon to follow, American military officials said.

One option now for the United States is to emphasize training and equipping Sunni tribal fighters, something the Obama administration has long sought to do. But while there are about 5,600 Sunni fighters in Anbar as part of the Popular Mobilization Forces, the umbrella group for the largely Shiite paramilitary forces, they have yet to prove themselves in combat.

An Iraqi official briefed on the military situation in Anbar, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the news media, said, “I don’t think there is a sense of urgency anymore.”

“Clearly, there is no progress,” the official said. “Why there is no progress is what everyone is talking about. I don’t think there is any will among the Iraqi security forces and militias to fight. They are just not fighting.”

Soldiers and militiamen, many of whom said they had not been paid in months, are dropping their weapons and heading for Europe.

One militia fighter from Diyala Province, who refused to give his name because he had abandoned his unit, spoke recently from Germany. “I almost got killed more than five times because we went into highly dangerous areas,” he said. “I considered moving to Europe as the last option for me to live in a country away from the hissing of bullets and death.”

John E. McLaughlin, a former deputy director of the C.I.A. who is now at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said American efforts to train the Iraqi military would probably be futile without a political bargain to unite the country’s Shiite and Sunni Arabs.

“Training is a necessary but not sufficient way to get you to the point of creating a robust fighting force, because ultimately, militaries fight over political issues,” he said.

Eric Schmitt reported from Washington, and Tim Arango from Baghdad. Omar al-Jawoshy contributed reporting from Baghdad, and an employee of The New York Times from Diyala Province, Iraq. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

Steady Stream of Cargo-Laden Russian Warships Flowing South Through Bosporus


conspiracy cafe Conspiracy Cafe

by George Freund

Russian Alligator class large landing ship Nikolay Filchenkov making her south bound passage through Istanbul, again with much cargo on her deck.

Russian Alligator class large landing ship Saratov making her south bound passage through Istanbul, again with much cargo on her deck.

The flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Moskva going to the Mediterranean to take part in a naval exercise.

Russian Krivak class frigate Ladny going to the Mediterranean to take part in a naval exercise.

Russian Tarantul class corvette R-109, passing thorugh Bosphorus.

Russian large landing ship Alexander Otrakovski returning from her Mediterranean deployment.

Last week we have saw a drastic increase in Russian warships movements through Turkish Straits.

One ship Alexander Otrakovski returned to the Black Sea, while 6 other warships R-109, Ladny, Moskva, Saratov, Nikolay Filchenkov and KIL-158 made their southbound passage. The landings ship are on their cargo delivery missions whereas the larger warships are going to take part in a naval exercise around Cyprus, on 30 September 2015.

Date Number Name Direction Nationality

27.9.2015 KIL-158 Southbound Russia

27.9.2015 152 Nikolay Filchenkov Southbound Russia

26.9.2015 150 Saratov Southbound Russia

25.9.2015 121 Moskva Southbound Russia

24.9.2015 801 Ladny Southbound Russia

24.9.2015 952 R-109 Southbound Russia

24.9.2015 31 Alexander Otrakovski Northbound Russia

22.9.2015 151 Azov Northbound Russia

22.9.2015 158 Tsezar Kunikov Northbound Russia

21.9.2015 142 Novocharkassk Southbound Russia

20.9.2015 Donuzlav Southbound Russia

19.9.2015 810 Smetlivy Southbound Russia

19.9.2015 KIL-158 Northbound Russia

17.9.2015 150 Saratov Northbound Russia

17.9.2015 Sayany Northbound Russia

16.9.2015 Novorossiysk Northbound Russia

15.9.2015 031 Alexander Otrakovski Southbound Russia

14.9.2015 151 Azov Southbound Russia

14.9.2015 158 Tsezar Kunikov Southbound Russia

13.9.2015 75 USS Donald Cook Southbound USA

10.9.2015 152 Nikolay Filchenkov Southbound Russia

9.9.2015 KIL-158 Southbound Russia

7.9.2015 150 Saratov Southbound Russia

4.9.2015 210 Smolny Southbound Russia

3.9.2015 130 Korolev Southbound Russia

3.9.2015 142 Novocharkassk Southbound Russia

Russian large landing ship Tsezar Kunikov at the northern entrance of Istanbul Strait.

Russian survey, research and intelligence gathering ship Donuzlav heading to the Mediterranean Sea.

A bow view of Novorossiysk. On her left is the TCSG-10 from Turkish Coast Guard.

Russian buoy tender KIL-158 seen during her southbound passage. There is some cargo on her deck hidden under nets.

If it floats, it’s coming out into the Mediterranean. What we’re in store for may well be a world war of biblical proportion.

America’s Unreported War in Afghanistan

U.S.’s Unreported War in Afghanistan


Doctors Without Borders reports that their hospital in “Kunduz [Afghanistan] was hit several times during sustained bombing by coalition forces” over the weekend. The group states: “Precise locations were communicated to all parties on multiple occasions over the past months, including most recently on 29 September.” General Director of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) Christopher Stokes states: “MSF is disgusted by the recent statements coming from some Afghanistan government authorities justifying the attack on its hospital in Kunduz. These statements imply that Afghan and U.S. forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital — with more than 180 staff and patients inside — because they claim that members of the Taliban were present.

“This amounts to an admission of a war crime.

“This utterly contradicts the initial attempts of the U.S. government to minimise the attack as ‘collateral damage’. There can be no justification for this abhorrent attack on our hospital that resulted in the deaths of MSF staff as they worked and patients as they lay in their beds.”

Glenn Greenwald notes: “One Day After Warning Russia of Civilian Casualties, the U.S. Bombs a Hospital in Afghanistan.”

On Twitter, see @accuracy Afghanistan list and #Kunduz hashtag.

Dr. HAKIM, hakimoryoung at
Hakim, is a medical doctor who has provided humanitarian relief in Afghanistan for the last decade. He works with Afghan Peace Volunteers, an inter-ethnic group of young Afghans dedicated to building nonviolent alternatives to war. Dr. Hakim is the 2012 recipient of the International Pfeffer Peace Prize.

He appeared on “Democracy Now” this morning, stating that Afghans are not surprised, though they are definitely angry at the bombing. He stated that given mainstream media coverage, people in the U.S. might not even be aware that the U.S. government is continuing to bomb Afghanistan. See news release from November 2014: “Obama Secretly Extended Afghanistan War.”

KATHY KELLY, kathy at, @voiceinwild
Kelly is co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. She is just recently back from Afghanistan. Also appearing on “Democracy Now,” Kelly called the U.S. government “the most formidable warlord in Afghanistan.” She talked of people at the Doctors Without Borders hospital seeing patients burning in their beds. She stated that given that Doctors Without Borders informed the U.S. military where the hospital was, it seems clear that the U.S. military knew that it was bombing a hospital and went ahead anyway.

See “VCNV Calls for Emergency Protest of Airstrike on Afghanistan Hospital.”

PHYLLIS BENNIS, pbennis at
Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. Her most recent book is Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror. She just wrote the piece “Bombing Hospitals All in a Day’s Work,” which states: “The destruction of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, with 22 dead so far, including doctors, other staff and patients, capped a week that also saw the bombing of another hospital in Afghanistan, plus the U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian bombing of a wedding party in Yemen set up in tents far out in the desert, away from anything remotely military. … The Pentagon relied on its language of ‘collateral damage,’ trying once again to distance itself from any responsibility for this most recent atrocity in Afghanistan. But there is no distance. This is the direct and inevitable result of an air war waged by U.S. pilots flying U.S. planes dropping U.S. bombs on an impoverished and war-devastated country still immersed in the war that began 14 years ago this week.”

John McCain’s “South China Sea Initiative” China War Provocation Passes Congress

[SEE:  US Neocon Agitators Stirring-Up Taiwan To Help Start America’s Anti-China War In S. China Sea]

US to Support Taiwan in South China Sea Per 2016 Defense Budget Bill

the diplomat

Last Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives expressed its approval of the changes the Senate had made in June to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA 2016), the latest iteration of an annual law that authorizes defense spending for the coming fiscal year. The House and the Senate had been logjammed over the differences between the two version of the bill, but, pending final approval by the House and Senate, NDAA 2016 will find its way to the White House for the president’s signature. The reconciled version of NDAA 2016, as with previous iterations of the U.S. defense spending legislation, affirms U.S. support for Taiwan. This year’s version, unlike last year’s, includes Taiwan among a list of countries that will receive active “assistance and training” from the United States in the South China Sea.

Section 1261 of NDAA 2016 outlines a new “South China Sea Initiative,” which appears first in a sector on “Matters Relating to the Asia-Pacific Region.” It notes that the secretary of defense is authorized to provide assistance and training to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, and, finally, Taiwan, “for the purpose of increasing maritime security and maritime domain awareness of foreign countries along the South China Sea.”

The NDAA text also includes general support for Taiwan in line with previous iterations of the bill and the Taiwan Relations Act, which defines the U.S. relationship with Taiwan and the extent to which the United States is responsible in ensuring a robust Taiwan defense posture. Specifically, NDAA 2016 suggests that “the United States should continue to support the efforts of Taiwan to integrate innovative and asymmetric measures to balance the growing military capabilities of the People’s Republic of China, including fast-attack craft, coastal-defense cruise missiles, rapid-runway repair systems, offensive mines, and submarines optimized for defense of the Taiwan straits.”

As a side note, there was much speculation earlier this year about an amendment in the House’s version of the NDAA, which expressed support for Taiwan’s participation in the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) 2016 (see section 1257 here). Last week, we received confirmation following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit that, despite protest, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) had accepted a U.S. invitation to participate in RIMPAC 2016. In the reconciled version of the bill, section 1257 and the amendment to require the secretary of defense to invite Taiwan to RIMPAC 2016 has been removed. This means that Taiwan will not receive an invite to RIMPAC 2016. As Michael Thim had noted in The National Interest back in May, inviting Taipei would have elicited a negative reaction from Beijing, costing precious diplomatic capital at a time when the U.S.-China bilateral relationship isn’t exactly at an all-time high.

Though Taiwan’s participation in RIMPAC is out, section 1263 of NDAA 2016 notes that the “military forces of Taiwan should be permitted to participate in bilateral training activities hosted by the United States that increase credible deterrent capabilities of Taiwan.”

Russian Air Force Outperforming US Anti-ISIS Coalition Against Syrian Terrorists

Russia Attacks ISIS In Syria

2015 Central America (174) Playa del Carmen, Mexico - Parque Fundadores, Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers), an ancient Mesoamerican ritualYesterday Russian Sukhoi Su-25 & Su-34 fighters destroyed an ISIS command center, a logistics center and a terrorist training camp in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear during his meeting with US President Barack Obama last week that Russia would take a decisive role in helping Syria defeat ISIS.

Later Putin schooled 60 Minutes’ reporter Charlie Rose on the hypocrisy of the US in calling for the removal of the democratically-elected Assad government, this on the heels of thee US-backed putsches in Ukraine and Libya.

Despite Western propaganda to the contrary, the Russians have shown extreme restraint in the Ukraine theatre, choosing instead to capture the moral high ground of destroying ISIS in Syria.

It was not what the London banksters were expecting.

With this latest audacious move, Russia hopes to divide the anti-Assad coalition which trained the ISIS thugs operating in the region. Cracks are already showing.  Yesterday French MP Thierry Mariani stated that any state or organization which fights against the MI6/CIA/Mossad-created Islamic State should be supported, including both the Russians and the Syrian government.

The US demand that President Bashir Assad step down before any negotiations can commence now looks dead in the water. Again the Russians have seized the initiative and embarrassed Western warmongers.

While the US claims to be fighting ISIS, the fact that Russia destroyed more of their infrastructure in one day than the US has taken out in many months, should reveal to the world the real agenda behind the creation of ISIS.

ISIS was formed to create chaos in this oil-rich region so that Big Oil and their Rothschild/Rockefeller owners could pressure the government of Iraq for better terms on their oil concessions, especially the Exxon Mobil claim on the massive Kirkuk oil field in northern Iraq.

Parallel to this the bankers could privatize the Libyan central bank, get rid of the nationalist Assad government and pressure Lebanon in a more pro-market direction.

The insertion of Russian military power into Syria may signal the beginning of the end for both ISIS and for the huge lie which has justified ever-more US military involvement in the region.

Once again, Americans should thank Mr. Putin for saving us from ourselves.

Dean Henderson is the author of five books:Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve,Stickin’ it to the Matrix & The Federal Reserve Cartel.